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There are three high-level, authoritative statements, which underpin any business and we need to have them and be clear about them. The third of these is the VALUES STATEMENT.

This is a declaration about how the organization wants to value their customers and suppliers, and be valued within its own internal community. In our context it needs to capture the fact that we depend on volunteers as well as paid staff. It could be something like

  • We will work cooperatively with all others who are promoting the game of bridge, and will respect the contributions and views of all bridge players, and we will do this in a legal and transparent manner - or -

  • We value all people in the ecosystem of bridge. Including those playing, teaching, promoting, administrating, researching, developing and providing services or products. Our commitment to inclusion across race, gender, age, religion, identity, and experience drives us to become the national mindsport of England - or -

  • (Bidding for the Future, 2013-2018) To act always in the best interests of our membership; to take pride in delivering quality and value for money; to respect each other and celebrate diversity so that everyone can give of their best - or -

  • We will achieve our vision in a collaborative way with players, volunteers, employees and partners based on the principles of inclusivity, transparency and sustainability - or -

Your views on the important of the various words and concepts in the values statement is sought.


  • edited July 2020

    The above are a given for any organisation in the civilised world and we have to think beyond simply valuing various stakeholders, both internal and external. As Boohoo, for example, has demonstrated in the last couple of days, any organisation that doesn't do all of the above has a limited future - they're imperatives, not nice to haves (and so, sorry, hardly worth more than a passing mention). The concept of values surely also extends to identifying and understanding things that are important to us and so differentiate us from our competitors (and make no mistake about it, we're in a very competitive market for people's valuable leisure time!) in the wider external, not just the internal, community. So, for example, as above, our vision (whatever it may be), making a positive contribution to society, providing intellectual and social stimulation etc. Shared values bind the bridge playing community together and, crucially, make it harder for people to leave that community.

  • edited July 2020

    As MikeWilloughby says the listed values seem to me to be requirements not differentiators.
    I'm not at all sure that you can look at the differentiating Values you need to create in an Organisation until you have agreed the Vision you exist to bring about (and I suggest a Vision for Bridge and a Vision for 'NewEBU' in another post) nor until you have agreed the Unique and Differentiating Mission that justifies your existence.
    One thing you might usefully do is look at what the Stakeholders in your Vision Value, and then what Capabilities and Enablers you need to build within your organisation to deliver those Values to them

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • I havw worked with enough companies that their 'values' can be a blessing and a curse.

    You have to make sure that they are

    1) big enough/important enough to be worthwhile
    2) actually something that the organisation will commit themselves to delivering on. I have seen many a company talk a good fight but fail on execution.

    I see too much waffle in this sort of thing. Values should be clear and concise and actually be something that you live everyday. For this reason I think that culture is more i.portant.

    For example, one of the points above was about respecting each other, if you (the EBU) need a values statement to tell you this, then you are not doing it already which means that the culture is nog right.
  • Spot on Martin

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • edited July 2020
    @Peter thanks, but maybe not my spelling... in my defence it was very early and I was on my phone
  • For example, a possible curse included in these statements... " To act always in the best interests of our membership".

    With recent issues braught about by Covid-19, clubs are unable to play face-to-face. The EBU has set up daily tournaments on BBO and (I think) Funbridge.

    This seems to me to fit with this statement.

    However, many players are only really interested in playing against members of their own club, so there is an interest in setting up virtual clubs on BBO. I think that the average NGS rating show that daily tournaments have been taken up maibly by the good/experienced/more serious players.
    The process to set up virtual clubs is a bit laborious and expensive. Could this be construed as not acting in the best interests of the membership? Could other options have been investigated to have enabled this to run both quicker and cheaper?

    Perhaps setting up every club as a virtual club auto automatically, or preregister them with BBO? Perhaps schedule a couple of training webinars that clubs could attend? Perhaps record the process and publish for free access on Youtube?

    So, if this were one of the values and you went down the path you did, then you would open yourself up to criticism that you are not living your values. However, the blessing is that as long as your internal culture allows for it, then anyone of any level in the orgamisation can challenge any decision and point to the values statement.
  • Reference the above, Martin, developing strategy always involves tradeoffs. Any organisation trying to always do the best it can for all its customers all the time without regard for cost, long term consequences etc is going to face problems. As you suggest elsewhere, M&S tried to please everyone all the time - and look what happened!

    You also mention culture (once in each of two posts!). As Peter says - spot on!

  • Thank you all for the contributions on this topic, which have been valuable in moving the thinking forward. As you will be aware, a number of the contributions went further than the questions asked – these have been filed for later use rather than addressed at this point. Without suggesting the answer is set in stone, the EBU Board has converged for the moment on the following Values Statement

    VALUES : ”We will achieve our vision in a collaborative way with players, volunteers, employees and partners, based on the principles of inclusivity, transparency and mutual respect.”

    The role of the Values Statement is to remind us of the underlying approach we will take on all EBU activities, and it is there to facilitate challenge when behaviours are not as desired. No further elaboration is expected.

  • I will be interested to see how this plays out over the next few months or so. Though I think that the "principles of inclusivity, transparency and mutual respect." is somewhat woolly and pat.

    Will there be a new mechanism that brings in "players, volunteers, employees and partners" to discuss and deliver on objectives?

  • I like the Values Statement. The board may find it useful to role-play and/or practice how it will respond to and correct any observed divergent behaviour before it has to do it for real.

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • Sorry, but I think we also need to consider how the EBU wants to appear to a wider range of external stakeholders and to society at large. Is that not also important and do we not value making a contribution to society as a whole (which, by the way, many clubs and counties already do)? That could be captured in the vision statement but it's not.

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